Calluna vulgaris (Scotch Heather)

Calluna vulgaris

Scotch Heather



The generic name is derived from the Greek word kallynein, meaning to clean, perhaps referring to the use of heather for making brooms. The genus is one of the few to contain only a single species, namely Scotch heather (Calluna vulgaris), which is widespread in europe and Asia Minor. Heather is a small shrub growing to a height of about 40 cm (16 in) with persistent, scale-like, sessile leaves, which are 1 to 3 mm (1/16 to 1/8 in) long, opposite and arranged in four rows. The flowers have four sepals and four petals, forming a bell-like corolla. They are arranged in terminal spikes of anything from three to twenty blossoms and are generally coloured pink or pinkish-violet.

Heather is readily propagated by means of seeds. After flowering the clusters of flowers are cut off and put in a pan; the seeds fall out of the capsules during the autumn and winter. After removing the fruit remnants the seeds should be topped with a layer of peat and sand and covered with glass so that the temperature and humidity can be kept at the same level. After the seeds have germinated the seedlings are potted up. Heather can also be propagated readily by means of semi-hard, terminal cuttings. Hardwood cuttings, taken from the part of the plant without flower shoots, also root well. Another possible means of propagation is by division of the clumps.

Heather is a typical heath plant. It does best on poor, dry, sandy soils. In gardens it is grown in light, sandy or peaty soil, free of lime, without the addition of strong fertilizers or manure. Sunny situations are the best, but heather also tolerates shade.

30. April 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Ornamental Shrubs, Plants & Trees | Tags: , | Comments Off on Calluna vulgaris (Scotch Heather)


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